Whatipu Our History - Pacific Jane

Whatipu Our History - Pacific Jane
No. 04

Our History
Whatipu Our History - Pacific Jane
Nau mai, haere mai
Whatipu sits on the northern
side of the entrance to the
Manukau Harbour. It is a remote
place with a large, open valley
dominated by bush covered
rocky peaks, and extensive black
sand dunes stretching out to the
wild waters of the Tasman Sea.
Whatipu appears to be a natural
place, yet people have gardened,
fished, lived and died here for
hundreds of years.

This brief history tells some of
the stories about the people
who have lived at Whatipu and
of the great drama that has
happened in this now quiet
place. Visitors to this part of
the Waitäkere Ranges Regional
Parkland can still see physical
reminders, such as pä (defended
fortifications), shell middens
(refuse heaps), railway sleepers
and historic buildings, that tell of
this remarkable history.

These carved pou (posts) represent
Te Kawerau ä Maki kaitiakitanga,
or guardianship, over Whatipu and the
surrounding seas. The pou facing inland
represents Tiriwä the ancestor after whom
‘The Great Forest of Tiriwä’ is named.
The pou facing out to sea represents
Taramainuku, the ancestor and guardian
taniwha associated with the Manukau
Harbour entrance.
Whatipu Our History - Pacific Jane
Päraraha Mill site

             Päraraha Pä
                                  Päraraha                                                                  341 m
Päraraha Point



                                  254 m                                                     293 m
                 Ōhaka Head

                                                           ki Stream

                                                                                                            Mt Gillies

                                                                                                             293 m                                         Kura


                                                                                                                                                             tr e                PU
                                                                                                                                                           uS                ATI

                              Pascoe Point                                                                                                                                                   Makaka
                                                                                                      Whatipu Mill site                                                                       Bay
                                                                       225 m
                                                                                                                                                                         241 m
                                                                                                      Whatipu                                   Ōmanawanui Pā
                                    Windy Point                           Liebergreen                 Lodge
                                                                              Cottage                                                   Track
                                                                                                           P         180 m
                                                                                                                               Pukehühü Wonga Wonga
                                                                                                               Wing’s house site
                                                                                  Wing Head
                                          Te Marotiri ö Takamiro
                                                     Cutter Rock                                                       Paratütai Wharf site
                                                                                                                       Site of signal mast
                                                                                        Te Toka Tapu ä Kupe
                                                                                        Ninepin Rock

             MAP KEY
             Heritage Site             Walking Tracks                       Wetlands                  Lookout site                Camping                    Information

             Cover image: ‘Bush Mill’, Whatipu, West Coast, Charles Blomfield 1880, oil on canvas,
             purchased 1930. (Auckland Art Gallery Toi ö Tämaki)
Whatipu Our History - Pacific Jane
What To See And Do
• Take a walk from the carpark to the beach and Paratütai Island (40 minutes return) to
  gaze at the natural landscape that surrounds you. If fishing or swimming take great
  care, as the sea currents are powerful and sea conditions can change very quickly.
• Take one of the many signposted inland bush walks in the area. They range from
  easy strolls to overnight tramps.
• Walk out from the carpark to view the remarkable Giant Cave (1 hour return).
• Stay a while and learn some more about the area’s history. Book a stay at historic
  Whatipu Lodge, or book a campsite in the adjoining campground (telephone
  09 811 8860 or email whatipulodge@xtra.co.nz). The Lodge is operated under
  licence and can be visited by arrangement.
• Please do not remove or disturb any archaeological remains. They provide an
  important record of our history and are protected by law.

    How To Get There
                                                                             Hauraki Gulf
    Whatipu is located 42 km (1 hours drive)
    from central Auckland. Head west to Titirangi   Waitakere Ranges                       CBD
    and then follow Huia Road. Take care driving           Titirangi
    on the last 7.5 km from Little Huia on the           Whatipu
    winding gravel Whatipu Road.                           Manukau Harbour
Whatipu Our History - Pacific Jane
EARLY MÄORI OCCUPATION                               Türehu
The strategic position of Whatipu on the             Among the earliest human ancestors to live
northern side of the entrance to the Manukau         in the area were the Türehu people, literally
Harbour, and its rich natural resources,             ‘those who arose from the earth’. In local
attracted people from the earliest period of         tradition these ancestors had remarkable
Mäori settlement in the region. Whatipu              personal qualities and powers, including
was located at the southern end of a coastal         the ability to shape the land. They were
walkway which stretched all the way north            often referred to as ‘Ngä Urukehu’ because
to the entrance of the Kaipara Harbour and           of their fair skin and hair. One of the best
beyond. The flat, sandy, frost-free Whatipu           known of these people was the ancestor
Valley was ideal for the cultivation of kümara.      Tiriwä, who made his home at the mouth
The coastline provided a wide variety of             of the Päraraha Valley between Whatipu and
seafood. A huge amount of food, timber               Karekare. From Tiriwä comes the traditional
and medicinal plants was available from the          name for the Waitäkere Ranges – Te Wao nui
surrounding forest.                                  ä Tiriwä, the great forest of Tiriwä. Takamiro,
                                                     one of Tiriwä’s fellow Türehu chieftains, is
The long period of Mäori settlement can                credited with the creation of Cutter Rock at
be seen in many physical marks left on the             Whatipu. While standing at Hikurangi near
land. These include five pä (fortifications)              Piha during a meeting of tohunga (spiritual
that defended the land, terraces for houses,            leaders), he is said to have thrown his maro
shell middens (rubbish dumps from food                    (flax kilt) into the air. It flew to the south
processing and cooking waste), groves of                 and landed at Whatipu where it is now a
karaka trees, rock shelters and sacred places.           large rock (Cutter Rock) known as ‘Te
The place names and traditional stories told             Marotiri ö Takamiro’, or the flax garment
by the local people of Te Kawerau ä Maki                  thrown by Takamiro.
bring this physical landscape to life.
Their stories suggest that Whatipu
has been settled for a very long time.
                                                          Kupe mai tawhiti
                                                        Several famous Mäori ancestors and
The name Whatipu is said to be associated            voyagers are associated in tradition with
with an ancient taniwha, or spiritual guardian,      Whatipu. These illustrious ancestors include
who came from as far away as Tühua (Mayor            Toi te huatahi, and in particular Kupe mai
Island) in the Bay of Plenty and settled at          tawhiti. Kupe made a mark on Paratütai
the mouth of the Manukau Harbour.                    Island to commemorate his visit. He then
The small bay north of Paratütai Island              said sacred karakia (prayers or incantations)
(Figure 1) became the meeting place for              at Ninepin Rock in order to safeguard himself
Whatipu and his fellow taniwha, including            and his people who were being pursued.
Taramainuku, Paikea, Üreia and Kaiwhare.             It is for this reason that the Ninepin was
As a result, this bay also became known              given the traditional Mäori name ‘Te Toka
as Waitïpua, or the ‘bay of the spiritual            Tapu ä Kupe’, the sacred rock of Kupe.
guardians’. The small rocky islands that stand       (Figure 2) The powerful incantations chanted
off Whatipu are named after the ancestor             by Kupe raised up the seas behind his canoe
and taniwha Taramainuku. Together they are           so that those chasing him were forced to
known as ‘Te Kupenga ä Taramainuku’,                 take shelter. From that time the rough seas
the fishing net of Taramainuku.                       off the western coastline became known as
(If you visit Cornwallis Beach you can see a large   ‘Ngä Tai Whakatü ä Kupe’, the upraised seas
carving with an information panel that tells you     of Kupe.
more about the taniwha of the Manukau Harbour).                                                      1
Whatipu Our History - Pacific Jane
Paratütai Island and Pä                                                                Figure 1

    Ngäoho                                              Te Kawerau ä Maki
    In time other tribal groups visited the             In the mid 1600s, several large groups of
    Waitäkere Ranges and settled there. One of          Ngäti Awa people from the Taranaki–Käwhia
    these peoples was the Tini ö Maruiwi who            area began to migrate northward to settle
    came from the Taranaki area. On a clear             among their Ngäoho relatives. One of these
    day, while standing on the high ridge north         Ngäti Awa groups from Käwhia was led
    of Whatipu, these people could see their            by a famous warrior chieftain Makinui who
    beloved mountain Taranaki to the south.             was generally known as Maki. He and his
    It is for this reason that they named the bay       people first settled on the Tämaki Isthmus
    and large hill just north of Whatipu, ‘Taranaki’.   (Auckland). They then moved to the southern
                                                        Kaipara area where they became known
    In the 14th century the Tainui canoe                as Te Kawerau ä Maki, a name which their
    arrived in what is now the Auckland region.         descendants have retained to this day.
    The famous Tainui spiritual leader Rakataura        Maki took control of the Waitäkere Ranges
    visited Whatipu and the Waitäkere coastline,        after battles with Ngäoho at Muriwai, Piha,
    bestowing such names as Tïtïrangi and               and Päraraha near Whatipu. The peaks of
    Hikurangi on the land after places in his           the ranges became known as ‘Nga Rau Pou
    Pacific homeland. Hoturoa, the commander             ä Maki’, the many posts of Maki, and he
    of the Tainui canoe, also bestowed names on         bestowed the name ‘Rau ö Te Huia’ (Huia
    the surrounding area. Some of the crew of           Bay) in memory of his home at Käwhia.
    the Tainui settled in the area, married earlier     Maki also named a hill standing to the east
    local people, and adopted the collective            of Whatipu, ‘Te Kä ä Maki’ to symbolize
    tribal name ‘Ngäoho’. These people lived            his ‘long burning fire’ or occupation of the
    throughout the Auckland region, including           land. Maki settled at Kaipara and later at
    at Whatipu.                                         Mahurangi, while his only Kaipara-born child
                                                        Täwhiakiterangi (better known as Te Kawerau
                                                        ä Maki) settled at what is now Woodhill.
Whatipu Our History - Pacific Jane
The descendants of Täwhiakiterangi lived         Following this event Te Kawerau ä Maki
throughout the Waitäkere Ranges and West         remained in occupation of the Waitäkere
Auckland. They held the land in turbulent        Ranges, including Whatipu, and they made
times. As a result they built many fortified      further peace-making marriages with Ngäti
pa, including those at Whatipu. They also        Whatua. Soon after however, their leader
made peace-making marriages with their           Täwhiakiterangi was killed near Woodhill
Waiöhua relatives who lived on the Tämaki        and they retaliated by killing a Ngäti Whatua
Isthmus and around the Manukau Harbour,          group which was visiting Piha, and then by
and with Ngäti Whätua who were then              killing Käwharu. After a generation of peace
forming their identity in the northern Kaipara   and further intermarriage between the two
area. Tension however arose between Te           tribes, Ngäti Whatua sought to avenge the
Kawerau and Ngäti Whätua, and developed          death of Käwharu and several large war
into open conflict following the killing of       parties attacked the Kawerau communities
Haumoewhärangi, the paramount chief of           of south western Kaipara. They were
Ngäti Whätua.                                    successful in defeating Kawerau in several
                                                 major battles and settled in south western
At the time the famous warrior Käwharu was
visiting his Kawerau relatives in southern
Kaipara. Even though he was from Käwhia          Te Kawerau ä Maki were pushed southward.
and closely related to Maki, he was also         However, after a series of peace making
related to the widow of Haumoewhärangi.          meetings and marriages, they remained in
Käwharu saw the killing of Haumoewhärangi        occupation of their land extending south
as inappropriate and offered to take revenge.    of a line from Muriwai to Riverhead. Te Au
He gathered a war party and chased those         ö Te Whenua the Te Kawerau ä Maki chief
responsible south to the Waitäkere Ranges        who then lived at Te Korekore Pa, Muriwai,
where he killed them at Makaka (Destruction      concluded a peace known as ‘Te Taupaki’.
Gully) east of Whatipu. Käwharu then             During the Ngäti Whatua conquest of the
exacted muru (ritual plunder) on those of        Tämaki Isthmus in the mid 1700s, a major
Te Kawerau ä Maki who had sheltered the          battle was fought on Te Kawerau ä Maki
killers. During this episode known to Ngäti      land near Tïtïrangi, but Te Kawerau ä Maki
Whatua as ‘Te Raupatu Tïhore’, ‘the stripping    remained neutral in this episode as they
conquest’, the valued belongings of many         were related to both parties involved in the
of the Te Kawerau ä Maki settlements were        fighting. Te Kawerau ä Maki continued to
taken. This included those of the occupants      occupy the Waitäkere Ranges, including
of the pa on Paratütai Island (Figure 1)         Whatipu, from this time.
at Whatipu.

 Te Toka tapu ä Kupe (The Ninepin)                                                     Figure 2

Whatipu Our History - Pacific Jane
THE TRADITIONAL CYCLE OF                            Most importantly the rocky and sandy
    RESOURCE GATHERING                                  coastline at Whatipu also provided a
                                                        wide range of resources from the sea.
    As with all Mäori in pre-European times,
    Te Kawerau ä Maki did not generally occupy          At Whatipu, settlement appears to have
    permanent settlements. Rather they                  been concentrated around the lower valley,
    moved around their ancestral land according         on and behind the sand dunes, and in the
    to the seasons in a cycle of hunting,               vicinity of the present day campground.
    fishing, gathering and harvesting. They              Evidence of settlement is still to be seen in
    had settlements around the mouth of the             the many terraces, caves, and rock shelters
    Whatipu Valley, to the east at Te Rau ö Te          found throughout the area. In particular it
    Huia (Huia Bay), along the northern shores          can be seen in the large number of shell
    of the Manukau Harbour, around the shores           middens (refuse heaps) located in the lower
    of the upper Waitematä Harbour, and along           Whatipu Valley, and at many places along
    the coastline to the north of Whatipu,              the coastline. These deposits contain a
    extending from Päraraha to Karekare,                considerable amount of fishbone, as well as
    Anawhata, Piha, Te Henga and Muriwai.               seal and whale bone. Whales that became
                                                        stranded on the Whatipu shoreline were a
    Whatipu was an important place, and an              wonderful gift from the sea. They provided
    ideal place to live in pre-European times.          a considerable amount of food, and also
    It is sited at the mouth of the Manukau             bone which could be used to manufacture
    Harbour which was the gateway to Tämaki             a wide range of tools and ornaments.
    Makaurau (the Auckland Isthmus) and                 Whale strandings have continued to occur
    beyond. It was also located at the southern         at Whatipu over the last 150 years, with a
    end of a coastal trail that ran down the            major stranding of twelve sperm whales
    beaches, cliffs and ridgelines from Muriwai         occurring as recently as November 2003
    to Whatipu. The area was surrounded by              (Figure 3).
    coastal forest which provided a wealth of
    food, medicines and building materials.

     Whale stranding at Whatipu, November 2003, DOC Auckland                                 Figure 3

Whatipu Our History - Pacific Jane
Mäori Fish-Hooks from Manukau Heads, from F.G. Fairfield                                  Figure 4

     The harvesting of the resources of the sea is also reflected in the many artefacts
     that have been recovered from Whatipu over the years. These artefacts incude a
     special two-piece hook for hapuku, trolling lures, harpoon heads, stone sinkers,
     a wide variety of wooden fishhooks (Figure 4), and even fragments of flax fibre
     fishing lines and nets.

The many middens in the Whatipu area                  probably came from Huia Bay. Most of the
contain a wide range of shellfish. These               middens also contain charcoal and hängi
include: mussels, tuatua, hopetea (white              (oven) stones which indicate that shellfish
rock shell), oysters, cat’s eye, paua, pipi           and fish were cooked at these sites over
and limpet, that were harvested from the              many years.
Whatipu coastline, as well as cockles which
Whatipu Our History - Pacific Jane
Karaka (Corynocarpus laevigatus) trees                                   These pits were also sometimes used as
    are associated with many of the old Mäori                                houses and their earthwork remains can
    occupation sites in the Whatipu area.                                    still be seen at many sites in the area.
    The fruit of the karaka (Figure 5) was                                   Taro would also have been grown in
    gathered from planted groves in March.                                   wet areas beside the Whatipu Stream.
    The fruit was then soaked to remove
    poisonous toxins and it was pounded to                                   The rich resources of Whatipu were
    produce a form of flour used as a winter                                  protected by five pä (defended fortifications).
    food source.                                                             They include: two hilltop pä inland of Whatipu
                                                                             Lodge, an island pä on rocky Paratütai Island,
                                                                             a headland pä below Pukehühü, and a ridge
                                                                             pä at Ömanawanui. These pä were built to
                                                                             provide safe places in times of war, and were
                                                                             located on steep places that were difficult
                                                                             to attack. The remains of Ömanawanui Pä
                                                                             (Figure 6) can be seen on the Ömanawanui
                                                                             Track which can be accessed from the
                                                                             main carpark, or from Whatipu Road. At
                                                                             this pä Mäori built a defensive ditch with an
                                                   Figure 5                  accompanying earth bank across the narrow
                                                                             ridge-line. These visible defensive features,
                                                                             along with pallisade posts and the naturally
                                                                             steep sided ridgeline, would have defended
    Te Kawerau ä Maki, and the people who
                                                                             what appears to be the main kumara storage
    came before them, cultivated kümara
                                                                             place in the Whatipu area. Within the
    gardens in the warm sandy soils found in the
                                                                             defended area, the ridge was levelled and
    Whatipu Valley and in the Päraraha Valley to
                                                                             reshaped to form two long terraces which
    the north. The kümara tubers were stored
                                                                             contain 13 rua.
    in rua (rectangular pits) with thatched roofs.

     D E F E N D E D      F O O D   S T O R A G E                           L I V I N G   A R E A S

                       tihi     rock

                                           käraka trees
                                                                                             house site   rock (view point)

                                                                                              S T E E P

           S     T        E    E       P
       terrace                 kümara storage pit         defensive ditch            walking track
                                                          and bank

     Archaeological Plan of Ömanawanui Pa (not to scale), Vanessa Tanner                                              Figure 6

CONTACT WITH EUROPEANS                           Te Whakapono - Christianity
                                                 Soon after their return home from exile
Early Visitors                                   in 1835 the Te Kawerau ä Maki people
                                                 resettled the Waitäkere Ranges including
Although Captain James Cook observed             Whatipu. Several flax traders visited the
the Waitäkere coastline from a distance in       Manukau Harbour around this time, and in
October 1769, the first European visit to the     1836 Wesleyan (Methodist) missionaries
Manukau Harbour entrance was not made            established a mission station at Örua Bay
until November 1820. Reverend Samuel             on the Äwhitu Peninsula opposite Huia.
Marsden and his fellow Church Missionary         The Reverend William Woon travelled across
Society (CMS) missionaries William Puckey,       the Manukau Harbour to visit the Te Kawerau
John Butler and James Shepherd were              ä Maki villages on the Waitäkere coastline,
brought to the area in a large canoe by the      including Whatipu. His fellow Wesleyan
Ngäti Whätua chief Te Kawau Te Tawa who          missionaries William White and James
was then living at Mängere. There is no          Buller (Figure 7) also preached in the area.
evidence that they landed at Whatipu but         Reverend Buller ultimately converted Te
they did observe the rough waters of the         Kawerau ä Maki chiefs Täwhiakiterangi
Manukau Bar.                                     (Te Wätarauhi - Waterhouse) and Te Tuiau
                                                 (Hoani - John) to the new Christian faith in
                                                 December 1845.

Ngä Pakanga ä Te Pü                                                                         Figure 7
– The Musket Wars
The early 1820s saw local Mäori meeting
Europeans for the first time, and also marked
the beginning of a decade of anxiety and
then disaster for the local people as a result
of the introduction of European weapons.
In 1821 the local people provided refuge
for the survivors of an attack by a northern
raiding party on the Tämaki Isthmus.
In 1826 the Te Kawerau ä Maki people
were attacked by a Ngapuhi raiding party
at Te Henga (Bethell’s Beach), and then at
Anawhata and Karekare. They suffered
huge losses because they had only traditional
wooden and stone weapons and they
faced an attacking force armed with muskets.
Te Kawerau ä Maki, and all of the tribes
of the area, took refuge in the Waikato.
They eventually returned ten years later in
late 1835 under the protection of the Tainui
leader Te Wherowhero who settled across
the Manukau Harbour from Whatipu at               Reverend James Buller, (from G.I Laurenson, 1972)
Äwhitu (Wattle Bay).
In the 1840s increasing numbers of                    The Lost Land of ‘Paorae’
    Europeans arrived in the Auckland area and
    they began to mill timber on the eastern               In pre European times the appearance of
    side of the Waitäkere Ranges and at Huia.             the Manukau Harbour and its entrance was
    In 1853 the Crown purchased most of what              certainly very different to the seascape that
    is now West Auckland, including the Whatipu           we see today, as it included an extensive
    area, from Te Kawerau ä Maki and Ngäti                area of dry, sandy land known as ‘Paorae’.
    Whatua as part of the Hikurangi Purchase.             Mäori tradition records that there have
    Te Kawerau ä Maki retained large reserves at          always been large areas of sand above
    Te Henga and Piha. They continued to gather           the high water mark in the vicinity of the
    the bountiful resources of the Waitäkere              Manukau Harbour entrance, and that
    coastline and they also remained living               they have constantly changed shape and
    around, and working at, the Whatipu Signal            location. The first Europeans to visit the
    and Pilot Station, established in late 1853.          area heard stories about a vast sandy land
                                                          called ‘Paorae’ that once extended from off
    TE MANUKANUKA Ä HOTUROA                               Whatipu south to the Waikato River mouth.
    – The Manukau Harbour Entrance                        Government interpreter John White, who
                                                          spent some time with the Te Kawerau ä
    The Manukau Harbour entrance is known
                                                          Maki people in the mid 19th century,
    to Mäori as ‘Te Manukanuka ä Hoturoa’
                                                          was informed that,
    – the anxiety of Hoturoa. This refers to
    the anxiety felt by Hoturoa the captain of               “when our ancestors lived in times long past,
    the Tainui canoe when setting off through                it is said the swell of the sea did not come near
    the dangerous waters of the Manukau                      to the present mouth of the Manuka Harbour,
    Harbour entrance on his journey southward                and a great flat space of land occupied the
    to Käwhia. Mäori not only recognized the                 place where the sea-coast now is. This flat was
                                                             covered by a dense scrub, with lakes in which
    dangerous nature of the harbour entrance,
                                                             eels were plentiful...
    but also observed that it and the surrounding
                                                             That space of flat land in which kümara was
    coastline was constantly changing as the                 cultivated was called Papakiekie.”
    large mass of iron sand moved up and down                (J. White 1888: 80-81)
    the coastline (Figure 8).

                                                             Windy Point

              2006                                                          W
                                  1954                1940

                                               Te Marotiri ö Takamiro
                                                          Cutter Rock

                                                                             Te Toka Tapu ä Kupe
                                                                             Ninepin Rock

               Changes to the Whatipu coastline 1836 - 2006, G. Murdoch                            Figure 8

In 1898 historian James Cowan gained a                 On 1 November 1853 Captain Hannibal
more detailed description of Paorae from               Marks was appointed as the Manukau
two rangatira Patara Te Tuhi and his brother           Harbour’s first pilot. Marks lived in a small
Honana Maioha who were then living at                  cottage on the exposed summit of Paratütai
Mängere. They noted that,                              Island where he operated a signal mast.
                                                       He also had a Mäori boat crew of four who
 “anciently the face of the land round the             rowed him out to ships that required a pilot.
 Manukau Harbour and the Heads presented a
                                                       The boat crew lived in a small settlement
 very different appearance...In those days there
                                                       located in the sandhills across the stream
 was no South Channel...The three
 creeks of the Manukau, then, according to
                                                       from the present day Whatipu campground.
 ancestral traditions, discharged to the north         After only seven months Captain Marks was
 of the present bar, out beyond where the sharp        succeeded as pilot by William Champion.
 volcanic heights of Paratütai and Marotiri            A proper signal mast was then installed and
 stand...There was a fresh-water lagoon                a published code of signals relating to the
 abounding in eels and wild duck. There were           use of the Manukau Harbour entrance was
 villages of the ancient people on the land, and it    introduced (Figure 10). In October 1855
 became a favourite spot for the tribes to go for      William Lewis replaced Champion as the first
 kai mataitai - fish, and pipi and mussels.”
                                                       Manukau Harbourmaster, a position which
 (J. Cowan 1930:118)
                                                       was created in recognition of the increasing
 Pätara Te Tuhi noted that, “his father, the warrior   amount of shipping using the harbour.
 chief Maioha remembered seeing in his boyhood         In April 1857 Lewis was replaced by Captain
 (1780-1800) the fast vanishing land of Paorae.”       Thomas Wing as Harbourmaster and Pilot of
 (J. Cowan 1930:119)                                   the Manukau.

The Manukau Signal                                     Captain Wing, his wife Lucy, and their then
and Pilot Station                                      five children, lived in a newly built house that
                                                       was located on Wing Head. This position
In 1820 the missionary Samuel Marsden had              was ideal for the pilot as it overlooked the
observed the extensive shoals, sandbanks               signal mast on Paratütai island and the
and dangerous seas at the harbour entrance,            Manukau Bar. It was however a long 100
and also that the harbour entrance appeared            metre climb up to the house from the beach.
to be navigable for ships. Sailing ships               Water supply was difficult, and the house
involved in the flax trade had certainly                had to be secured by large chains to prevent
entered the Manukau Harbour by 1831.                   it being damaged during the frequent gales.
Captain Thomas Wing, who transported                   Wing replaced missing buoys and markers
the early Wesleyan missionaries around the             and restored the signal mast to good working
area, made the first survey of the Manukau              order. He was assisted by four Mäori
Harbour and its entrance in 1836. Wing’s               boatmen, and from 1858 he was able to
chart remained in use for around 20 years              employ a signalman. This made the Whatipu
and it featured key Whatipu landmarks                  Signal Pilot Station more efficient and it
such as the Ninepin and Paratütai Island.              allowed Wing to leave the station to pilot
In 1853 the British Admiralty sent Captain B.          vessels right up the harbour to Onehunga.
Drury in the Pandora to survey the Manukau             The signalman position was initially filled by
Harbour and its entrance. Drury’s chart made           Hugh Evans and then from 1861 by Thomas
use of the harbour much safer, and on his              Wing’s eldest son Edward.
recommendation the Governor established
the Manukau Signal and Pilot Station at

Wreck of the HMS Orpheus, lithograph, artist unknown                                            Figure 9

     The Orpheus Disaster                                    were held responsible for the disaster by
                                                             the British Admiralty. It is, however, now
     The Wing family lived a difficult but generally          generally accepted that Commodore Burnett
     happy life at Whatipu for ten years during              and his officers had simply not used the
     which time three more children were born.               latest sailing directions for the Manukau,
     Nothing however was to prepare the Wing                 and had not followed the signals issued by
     family for the tragedy that was to occur                Edward Wing. The Mäori boat crew from
     off Whatipu on 7 February 1863 when the                 the Whatipu Pilot Station was awarded Royal
     Royal Naval corvette the HMS Orpheus                    Humane Society Medals for their bravery
     was wrecked on the Middle Banks of the                  in rescuing members of the crew in very
     Manukau Bar. This is to date New Zealand’s              difficult circumstances. In spite of the
     worst maritime disaster with 189 men                    massive controversy that surrounded the
     out of 270 crew and passengers being                    disaster, Captain Wing retained his position
     unaccounted for. Thomas Wing was absent                 as Harbourmaster and Pilot of the Manukau
     at Onehunga at the time and his son Edward              until 1888.
     was manning the signal mast. The Wings
                                                                                                       Figure 10

      Signals issued to the HMS Orpheus from the Paratütai Signal Mast, 7 February 1863, from T. Fairburn, 1987

The HMS Orpheus had been involved in the           entering the Manukau Harbour. At the same
British preparations for war with Waikato          time the Signal Station was transferred to
Mäori. When fighting finally broke out in July       the South Head of the Manukau where it
1863 Thomas Wing’s house at Whatipu was            remains in operation today. Captain Wing
fortified by filling the wall cavities with stones   and his family and the pilot crew remained
and earth, and through the construction of         at Whatipu until 1867. From 1867 until 1888
loopholes for rifles. Armed sentries were           Thomas Wing carried out his Harbourmaster
also posted to guard the Pilot Station.            duties from Onehunga. The house at Wing
In spite of this, a Waikato raiding party          Head was left empty for several years,
climbed Paratütai Island and cut down              although it is thought that some of materials
the Signal Mast in November 1863.                  from it were used by the Gibbons family in
This disturbed the Te Kawerau ä Maki               building their homestead at Whatipu in 1870.
leader Te Wätarauhi, who, while having a
close association with the Waikato tribes,
also understood the military power of the
Government. He quickly sent a letter to
Governor Sir George Grey assuring him
of the loyalty of his people to the Crown.

When the HMS Eclipse temporarily grounded
on the Manukau Bar with nearly three
hundred troops on board in January 1865,
the Royal Navy stopped any of their vessels


     Enclosure in No.2.

     Letter from Te Wätarauhi To His Excellency The Governor
     Waitäkere, November 16, 1863


     Salutations. Great is our love for you. We have heard that the flagstaff at Manukau
     has fallen. The Päkehä you sent here did not come; but Mr. Percy Smith went
     to Öngärahu, and we there heard your words relative to the cutting down of the
     Manukau flagstaff. Great is our annoyance at this conduct of the Waikatos, who
     have cut down the flagstaff to cause mischief in our district. We know that this has
     been done to bring us into disrepute. And now, O father, (be assured that) our only
     fixed thought is love for you, our true parent, for you provide for us. Enough.

     Te Wätarauhi.                                                            AJHR 1864

The Wreck of the HMS Orpheus
      The HMS Orpheus was a Royal Navy corvette, 68.8 metres in length, launched in 1860.
      The vessel was a fully-rigged, three-masted ship, that was also powered by two steam engines.
      The Orpheus left Sydney, Australia on 31 January 1863 so that Commodore W.F. Burnett could
      assess the Royal Navy contribution to preparations for war with Waikato Mäori allied to the
      King Movement. Because he was pressed for time, Burnett decided to take the vessel into the
      Manukau Harbour. The vessel had up-to-date charts and sailing directions on board, yet in spite
      of the signals from the Paratütai Signal Station manned by Edward Wing, it took a course slightly
      to the south of the main northern channel. In fine weather and moderate seas the vessel struck
      the northern end of the Middle Bank at 1.20 pm on 7 February 1863. Over the next four hours the
      ship began to break up as it was battered by large waves formed by the force of the outgoing tide
      and a rising westerly wind. In spite of a rescue attempt staged by the coastal steamer Wonga
      Wonga, and Captain Wing with the Whatipu pilot station boat, 189 officers and men, including
      Commodore Burnett, were unaccounted for out of a complement of 270. Over the following
      weeks bodies washed up all along the surrounding coastline, with two being buried below
      Wing Head at Whatipu. The HMS Orpheus was not the first or the last ship to be wrecked on
      the Manukau Bar. Between 1848 and 1981 eighteen ships were wrecked on the Manukau Bar
      with the loss of 244 lives.

      (Today there is little to remind the visitor of what was New Zealand’s worst maritime disaster.
      Several Orpheus graves can be visited at Kakamatua Inlet east of Huia, and at St. Peter’s Church,
      Onehunga. The Huia Museum has on display part of a mast and a number of artefacts from
      the wreck).

     HMS Orpheus Figurehead, as sketched by T. Fairburn, 1987                                     Figure 11

Timber Milling
Between 1866 and 1886 Whatipu was at
the centre of a major kauri timber milling
enterprise established by the Gibbons
family who had emigrated to New Zealand
from Newfoundland in 1853. John Gibbons
and his sons Ebenezer, James, Thomas,
Nicholas and Robert had operated two large
sawmills at nearby Huia from 1854. In 1866
the ‘Niagara Mill’ at Hinge Bay, Huia, was
closed, and the Gibbons brothers set about
establishing a new sawmill in the lower
Whatipu Valley where kauri were plentiful.

The Whatipu Mill (Figure 12), which was                    Loading timber, Paratütai Wharf, 1920
                                                           (J. Lawrence photo), Waitäkere Library
located about 1 km upstream of the present                 and Information Services                 Figure 13
Whatipu Road bridge, was operational by the
end of 1868. The stream was impounded by
large earth banks and a wooden dam                        A wooden tramway was constructed to
(Figure 14), and the saws were powered                    transport sawn timber from the mill to
by a large waterwheel.                                    a wharf (Figure 13) that was built on the
                                                          sheltered north eastern side of Paratütai
From 1874 the saws were generally driven by               Island. Timber was also transported to the
a small steam engine that was more reliable               wharf along a tramway that ran north around
than water power, especially in summer.                   the coastline as far as the Päraraha Mill
Logs were taken from throughout the                       established in the same period by William
Whatipu Stream catchment by contractors                   Foote, the son in law of John Gibbons.
and were transported to the mill using driving            Together the Whatipu and Päraraha Mills
dams, log chutes and teams of bullocks.                   could cut 100,000 super feet of timber per
                                                          week. The sawn timber was exported from
                                                          Paratütai Wharf by sailing ship around
                                                          New Zealand, and in particular to Australia.
                                                          In 1877 the two mills were sold to the
                                                          Dunedin firm of Guthrie and Larnach.
                                                          The mills operated until 1881 when they
                                                          were closed following a dry summer which
                                                          affected the driving dams and caused several
                                                          bush fires, and then the destruction of the
                                                          Päraraha Mill by fire. A new mill was then
                                                          constructed further north at Karekare,
                                                          and it operated until 1886. Timber from
                                                          the Karekare mill was again hauled down a
                                                          coastal tramway to Paratütai Wharf, Whatipu,
                                                          for export. During the years 1906-1921 there
                                                          was a revival in timber milling to the north
                                                          focused on Piha, and timber continued to
 Whatipu Sawmill, men by ramp c.1877,                     be transported down a rebuilt tramline to
 Waitäkere Library and Information Services   Figure 12
                                                          Paratütai Wharf.

In its heyday the Whatipu Mill was the                   shop and 20 worker’s cottages (Figure 14).
     focal point of a large community of over                 There was also a school for local children
     one hundred people. The mill itself had a                and a small post office sited on the wharf
     manager’s office, a store, a blacksmith’s                 at Paratütai.

      Bush Mill, Whatipu, West Coast, Charles Blomfield 1880. Auckland Art Gallery Toi ö Tämaki   Figure 14

The Parara Express
(From The Waitäkere Ballads of John T. Diamond, 1978)

From the timber mill at Kiri to the wharf at Paratu
I rode the Parara Express way back in 82
Bearded Jan a Dutchman was the driver on this trip
He said he’d take no passengers but I bribed him with a tip.

I heaved my pikau in the tucker box and clambered in on top
And with just the faintest whistle the Parara Express was off.
Underneath the coastal cliffs, through a tunnel rather low,
Then over miles of ironsand dunes was the way we had to go.

At a tunnel through a headland we made the scheduled stop
While Jan lowered down the smoke stack so it wouldn’t get knocked off.
Getting near to Päraraha, old Jan now throttled down
For the stream is crossed on trestles full 12 feet above the ground.

We clattered past the siding that once was Bill Foote’s Mill
Now just a blackened ruin ‘mid charred trees beneath the hill
Chugging slowly round the headland to the ironsand dunes once more
The track is built on trestles six chain back from the shore.

Jan always ran the loco full speed along this line
But from Windy Point to Whatipu was where he lost some time.
The waves that break against the track can lift and twist this length
Although ‘tis built on trestles triple braced to give them strength.

Moving slowly neath the cliffs past caves both deep and dark
Jan stopped beside a waterfall to fill the water tank.
Three times he blew the whistle the blasts echoing round the bay
To let the wharfmen know the Express was on its way.

So on this fine day in August of 1882
The Parara Express pulled in at the wharf at Paratu
Here the brig ‘Wild Duck’ was waiting to sail out with the tide
So I took a passage on her bound for the goldfields down near Clyde.

Nicholas and Matilda Gibbons (nee Laurie), Gibbons Family Collection                     Figure 15

     The Gibbons Homestead 1870                              remained at Whatipu with his wife Laura
                                                             (nee Williams). The Gibbons boys all
     Another important focal point for the Whatipu           remained involved in the timber milling
     Mill community was the Gibbons homestead                industry. Ebenezer Gibbons became well
     (Figure 16) constructed by Mill Manager                 known as a designer and builder of timber
     Nicholas Gibbons in 1870. This building is              driving dams, while Bob Gibbons was
     now at the centre of the complex known                  regarded as one of the most skilled kauri
     as ‘Whatipu Lodge’. Here Nicholas and his               bushmen of the period.
     wife Matilda (nee Laurie) (Figure 15) raised
     eight children, six boys and two girls, while           A Subsistence Lifestyle
     also running a small farm supplying meat
                                                             The closing of the mills on the Waitäkere
     and vegetables to the mill. They farmed their
                                                             coastline in the late 1880s signaled a quiet
     own land and some of the Auckland Harbour
                                                             period in Whatipu’s history, with the Gibbons
     Board land that had been set aside for the
                                                             family barely making a living from milling
     Pilot Station in 1853. When the Whatipu
                                                             flax and farming livestock. In the late 1890s
     Mill changed ownership in 1877, Nicholas
                                                             Nicholas and Matilda Gibbons retired to
     Gibbons gave up his position as manager,
                                                             Weymouth and the farm was taken over by
     although he and his family continued to live
                                                             Fred and Laura Gibbons. They now lived
     in the homestead. Nicholas carried on doing
                                                             in isolation at Whatipu, and continued to
     timber milling work throughout the Waitäkere
                                                             struggle to survive economically on their
     Ranges, and for a time operated a small flax
                                                             small farm property that was physically cut
     mill at Päraraha.
                                                             off from the Auckland market. Whatipu still
     By the end of the nineteenth century the                had no access road and the steamer Weka
     Gibbons children had left home to marry,                now only called at Whatipu once a fortnight.
     to attend school at Weymouth, or to seek                The Gibbons family was totally reliant on the
     work elsewhere. Only the second son Fred                food that they grew and the resources that
                                                             they were able to get from the sea.

Family Tragedy
Times were certainly tough for Fred and
Laura and their eight children, as their
grandson Bruce Harvey describes –

 “At one time in the early years of the twentieth
 century, when Fred and Laura Gibbons had a
 young family, all eight of their children
 contracted the dreaded childhood infection
 diphtheria... At Whatipu there was no doctor or
 medical help and the parents were desperate.
 Fred took the worst affected children in a
 flat bottomed dinghy, and rowed them to
 Cornwallis where they proceeded by cart and
 boat to the hospital at Auckland. Apparently he
 kept a fire burning aboard the boat on a piece
 of corrugated iron to try to keep the patients
 warm. He had to battle against the tide and the     The Gibbons family by the Whatipu Homestead
 journey took 14 hours. One of the children died     c.1905 (Carrie Woodward photo).
 on the journey and another died in hospital the     Waitäkere Library and Information Services Figure 16
 following day.” (B. Harvey 2001:126)

WHATIPU – A HOLIDAY PLACE                           After timber milling ended in 1921 and the
                                                    tramline was lifted, the cottages became
The Gibbons family and the development              vacant, and the Gibbons family became
of ‘Whatipu Lodge’.                                 almost totally reliant on revenue from holiday
                                                    makers staying at Whatipu Lodge. Fred and
For the last hundred years Whatipu has
                                                    Laura Gibbons were helped in running the
become best known as a magical place for
                                                    Lodge by their three daughters Helen (Nel),
relaxed family holidays and fishing. Fred and
                                                    Dorothy (Dot) and Laura (Pops), and their
Laura Gibbons had provided accommodation
                                                    older sons Roy and Fred who had returned
for visitors in their homestead from the
                                                    safely from World War I. In relation to this
1890s. When timber milling resumed at
                                                    period Fred and Laura’s grandson Bruce
Karekare in 1906, and Piha in 1910, the
                                                    Harvey wrote,
coastal tramway was rebuilt and there was a
significant increase in the number of timber          “In the early 1920s the accommodation house
workers and visitors arriving at Whatipu.            was in full swing. The Gibbons family supplied a
To cater for the growing number of people            full service to their guests, and made a speciality
seeking accommodation, Fred Gibbons                  of cooking any fish that were caught by their
built a dwelling for his family behind the old       visitors. Whatipu increasingly became an
                                                     exciting and interesting place to stay and with
homestead which was now used for paying
                                                     the road completed in the mid 1920s people did
guests. He also built a new dining hall and
                                                     not have to depend on irregular sea transport...
kitchen, and a row of bunkhouses (Figure 17)         courting couples undertook adventurous
on either side of the homestead. These were          activities, such as fishing or hunting wild pigs.
used to cater for holiday makers and single          Dances and social activities were often held in
workers from the timber tramway and wharf.           the large cave (Figure 21), about half a kilometre
The complex became known as ‘Whatipu                 along the coast to the north of the lodge. The
Lodge’. Fred Gibbons also leased out the             cave was lit and festooned with ribbons, and an
remaining mill cottages located in the lower         accordion band supplied the music. There was a
Whatipu Valley to married men employed on            wooden dance floor, which is probably still there
                                                     under the sand. The twenties were a time of
the tramway and at Paratütai Wharf.
                                                     gaiety and young people’s frolics at Whatipu.”
                                                     (B. Harvey 2001:136-138)
Holiday makers at Whatipu Lodge, Labour Weekend 1924. On the far right is Stuart Armstrong.
      Little would he have realized then that his grand daughter Alison Anderson would be a licencee
      of the Lodge 80 years later. Alison Anderson family album                                      Figure 17

     With their children now married and working              “happy times and memories at Whatipu,
     away from home, Fred and Laura Gibbons                   swimming with their surf boards, walking and
     made the difficult decision in 1929 to sell               tramping to Päraraha valley and horse riding...
                                                              The sisters other memories include watching
     Whatipu Lodge and the adjoining farm
                                                              steamers forging their way through the bar on
     property, to give up the lease of the
                                                              their way to New Plymouth and men servicing the
     Auckland Harbour Board land, and to retire               lighthouse on the ocean side of Paratütai Island...
     to Weymouth.                                             They remember people from all over the World
                                                              staying at Whatipu.” (B. Harvey 2001: 144-145)
     The new owners of Whatipu Lodge were
     John and Constance (Winnie) Douglas.                                                              Figure 18
     At the beginning of the major economic
     depression of the 1930s, and with nine
     children, John and Winnie had made a brave
     decision to leave Auckland City to start a new
     life at remote Whatipu. They were to stay at
     Whatipu for three years during which time
     they installed septic tanks and shifted the
     former Post Office building from Paratütai
     Wharf to the Lodge and converted it into a
     toilet block. They continued to operate the
     Lodge as visitor accommodation and to farm
     200 sheep and 30 cows. The Douglas sisters
                                                             Whatipu railway ruins, Ron Stephens Album

The Farley Era                                             forward to dinner. The evening meal was formal
                                                           and we all changed into clean and neat things.
In 1932 Whatipu Lodge was sold to the                      On the table was a white starched, meticulously
                                                           ironed tablecloth, napkins folded in mitre style
Farley family who had been operating a
                                                           and silver cutlery. The menu was varied but often
guesthouse at Karekare from 1900.
                                                           delicious fish soup (thick and milky), fish, or roast
‘Whatipu House’ (Figure 23), as they called                beef or mutton and vegetables and then a desert
it, was managed for fifteen years by Wally                  consisting of guavas with lashings of whipped
Farley and his wife Florence. They put in a                cream or a steamed pudding...After dinner we
tennis court and generally tidied the place                would go for a walk or sit by a warm fire in the
up to cater for the growing number of                      sitting room of the old lodge and play snakes and
visitors arriving at Whatipu as the economic               ladders and jigsaws or read. The lights of the
depression ended. Ailsa McElwaine (nee                     generator would go out at 9.00 p.m. but we had
Harvey) a granddaughter of Fred and Laura                  candles by our bedsides if need be. The holidays
                                                           at Whatipu are still a treasure in our minds.”
Gibbons recalled wonderful childhood
                                                           (B. Harvey 2001: 151)
holidays at Whatipu House in this period -

 “We, as children, would have lots of interests,
                                                         To the west of ‘Whatipu House’, in what is
 including catching minnows or tommy cods in             now the campground, was a small group of
 the stream, rolling and sliding down the sandhill       holiday cottages that had been built from
 with a toboggan, building sand dams and                 former mill workers cottages associated
 diverting the water, or playing tennis. Sometimes       with Whatipu Mill and the old Whatipu
 we would take torches and candles to explore            school building. Other cottages were built
 the caves, a great adventure! We also fished             later as holiday homes and they remained
 with our parents off the wharf...In those days Dad      on the former Auckland Harbour Board land
 would catch snapper off Cutter Rock – today sand
                                                         until 1984. Of the original cluster of holiday
 surrounds this rock for hundreds of metres...Each
                                                         cottages only ‘Liebergreen Cottage’
 day was so full of fun and adventure. We enjoyed
 all the meals as one does on holiday and looked
                                                         (Figure 20) remains.

                                                                                                     Figure 19

 Launch Outlaw leaving Paratütai Wharf, Whatipu c.1920, Waitäkere Library and Information Services

Liebergreen Cottage

          Around 1922 holiday-makers Bert and Anne Jones (nee Cowley) purchased two of the
          old Whatipu Mill worker’s cottages from Fred Gibbons. Bert used horses to drag the
          huts on rollers to a new site to the west of the Lodge and joined them together to form a
          holiday bach (Figure 20) on land leased from the Auckland Harbour Board. The cottage
          was enjoyed by Bert and his descendants for 40 years. In 1964 it was sold to Christian
          and Yvette Liebergreen who enjoyed holidays in it for 20 more years. In 1984 ownership
          of ‘Liebergreen Cottage’ transferred to the Auckland Regional Authority (ARA).
          Although modified over the years, the cottage retained its basic original fabric as a mill
          worker’s cottage, and its historic significance was recognized by the ARC. From 1984
          the cottage has been used as temporary accommodation by park rangers, pest control
          contractors and research students. In 2003 the ARC completed a conservation plan for
          the cottage which is progressively being conserved by the Council.

                                                                                           Figure 20

     In 1947, after a difficult time running Whatipu     including a billiard table, and introduced
     House during the war years, Wally and              new linen and crockery. Mr. Gibson had the
     Florence Farley decided to sell the property       grand dream of turning ‘Whatipu Lodge’ into
     and to retire. Between 1947 and 1950 the           a high class guesthouse with silver service
     lodge was owned and operated by an                 and waiters, but visitors to Whatipu wanted
     English public school educated man Austin          something far more casual. Bookings fell
     Gibson. He built the present manager’s             away and the Lodge soon became neglected
     accommodation, installed new furniture,            and derelict.

Phil Sharp and Whatipu                              group of loyal clients who stayed at Whatipu
Lodge 1950-1984                                     regularly. The enterprise also benefited from
                                                    the custom of a number of ships masters
Whatipu Lodge was to be managed by                  and four Auckland QCs who brought the
a colourful character Phil Sharp for the            Lodge welcome publicity.
remarkably long period of thirty four years.
Phil Sharp had been a clothes designer and
gentlemen’s tailor who had suffered a serious
leg injury during the North African campaign
of World War II. When he took over the
Lodge, it, and its surroundings were in very
poor shape. Phil poured his energy into the
enterprise, clearing gorse from right along
the Whatipu Road, upgrading the telephone
link, repairing the lodge buildings, and
upgrading the water supply. He also installed
the ‘100 man’ stove from the old Upper Huia
Dam camp in the kitchen. Phil leased the
Harbour Board Endowment that included the
large and growing coastal sand dune area.
He planted sand binding plants on the dunes,
although his large herd of cattle grazed them
and the surrounding bush heavily. Phil Sharp
maintained the Lodge as a basic wilderness
holiday establishment based around a large           Auckland Tramping Club at the Giant Cave,
                                                     Whatipu, c. 1932, Waitäkere Library
                                                     and Information Services              Figure 21

                                                                                           Figure 22
     Te Ipu Kura ä Maki Taua
     (nee Whareiti)

     After the Hikurangi Block Crown purchase
     of 1853 Te Kawerau ä Maki were confined
     to the Piha and Waitäkere (Bethells Beach)
     Native Reserves, although they still visited
     and fished at Whatipu regularly. The last
     member of Te Kawerau ä Maki to live
     permanently at Whatipu was Apiata Te
     Aitu who lived there until around 1880.
     Members of the tribe have continued to
     maintain kaitiakitanga or guardianship
     over Whatipu from that time. Te Ipu Kura
     ä Maki Taua was one such guardian from
     the early 1900s until her death in 1968.
     The Kura Track in the Whatipu Valley is
     named after her.                                Te Ipu Kura ä Maki Taua (nee Whareiti),
                                                     Te Kawerau ä Maki Tribal Collection

Whatipu House Advert., Weekly News, 1936, Waitäkere Library and Information Services              Figure 23

     The Auckland Regional Authority (ARA)                      before daylight and smoked twenty-seven fish
     took over management of the Centennial                     for distribution to their neighbours and friends.
     Memorial Park, including the land                          As a boy in 1935 he, with Jack Lawrence, had
                                                                hunted wild pig and caught fish at Whatipu,
     surrounding Whatipu, in 1964. In 1971 the
                                                                having earlier ridden on horseback all the way
     ARA was given a lease over the former AHB
                                                                from Glen Eden.” (B.Harvey 2001: 152)
     Whatipu Endowment land which included
     Whatipu Lodge. The Authority renewed the                 Mary and Neil Roberts 1984-2000
     lease with Phil Sharp in 1979, although the
     leased land associated with the Lodge was                Mary and Neil Roberts were well qualified
     reduced to 15 hectares, and cattle were                  to run an isolated holiday establishment
     restricted to the lower Whatipu Valley. The              like Whatipu Lodge, as Neil was a diesel
     three remaining cottages located to the west             engineer with farming experience, and
     of the Lodge were also given separate leases             Mary was a social worker and a trained
     for ten years. The ARA Chief Ranger was                  nurse. In 1984 all of the remaining leased
     Bill Beveridge who set about developing and              cottages were removed except for the
     upgrading walking tracks in the area. Bill               historic Liebergreen Cottage. The Lodge was
     has now enjoyed a 72 year association with               again renovated and painted in its original
     Whatipu and the Lodge, and has very fond                 dark colours, and the surrounding grounds
     memories of the place.                                   were upgraded. The road out to Huia had
                                                              now improved and the Lodge received
      “He remembers having a holiday with his friend
                                                              economically beneficial publicity as a result
      Ivor for two weeks in 1979, and during one night,
      catching ten snapper in a ‘hole’ out from Päraraha
                                                              of the TV programme presented by the
      valley. They caught twenty fish the next morning         actress Annie Whittle.

“Whatipu drew trampers and fishing people in          The Council commissioned the production
 increasing numbers...Several films using Whatipu      of conservation plans for Whatipu Lodge
 as a location were made during the 1980s and         and the adjoining Liebergreen Cottage.
 1990s, including with the American actress Cybil
                                                      The considerable heritage value of the
 Shepherd and another with the New Zealand
                                                      buildings was confirmed and the ARC
 actor Ian Mune. At one time the whole cast of
 the New Zealand television series Shortland
                                                      embarked on a comprehensive building
 Street stayed at the lodge during the shooting       conservation programme for the Lodge and
 of particular scenes in the soap drama. In this      Liebergreen Cottage 2001-2007. A small
 period there was also real drama at Whatipu.         hydro electric power generation plant was
 Several drownings and a murder occurred in           also installed and a new ablution block
 the area.” (B.Harvey 2001: 154)                      constructed.

WHATIPU IN RECENT TIMES                               The Lodge was leased as a going concern
                                                      to Alison Anderson and Marnie Hunter
Whatipu Lodge remained under the                      (Figure 24) in April 2001. They have continued
management of Neil and Mary Roberts until             the tradition of providing a relaxed and high
May 2000. The ARC had taken control of                quality experience for those who stay at
the 1000 acre (404 ha) Auckland Harbour               Whatipu Lodge and the campground.
Board Endowment in 1989, and in 2002                  Along with Bruce and Trixie Harvey, Alison
the Crown declared the 820 hectare Whatipu            and Marnie have also been at the centre
Beach sand wilderness to be a Scientific               of the community volunteer group ‘Friends
Reserve with management vested in the                 of Whatipu’ founded in 2002. This group
ARC. After considerable public consultation           promotes Whatipu’s natural and cultural
the Council decided to maintain Whatipu               heritage. It works with the ARC to undertake
Lodge as a short-stay residential lodge under         restoration plantings of native species,
licence, and to manage the Whatipu area as            to enhance protection for shore birds
a remote experience wilderness and wildlife           breeding on the adjoining coastline, and to
protection area.                                      promote the rich human history of the area.

 Marnie Hunter and Alison Anderson at Whatipu Lodge, 2005 (Jan Young photograph)          Figure 24

Community planting day, Whatipu, July 2005, Auckland Regional Council                             Figure 25

     In 2001 Bruce Harvey the great grandson                  Auckland people have a very strong sense of
     of Whatipu pioneers Nicholas and Matilda                 the environment and our history. Many groups
     Gibbons published his wonderful local history            such as the Te Kawerau people, Waitäkere
                                                              (Ranges ) Protection Society, the Forest and Bird
     entitled Whatipu – The Story of Whatipu and
                                                              Society, West Auckland Historical Society and the
     Early Huia. In it he writes,
                                                              Auckland Regional Council, help to voice
                                                              the desire of people to protect our heritage.
      “In the hills and valleys of Whatipu today the
                                                              The future looks assured for this unique, historic
      forest is once more resplendent, the coast
                                                              and beautiful place.” (B. Harvey, 2001:160-161)
      looks just as dramatic as in the past. The lodge
      remains as an historic building to remind us
                                                             This booklet was written by Graeme Murdoch.
      of the past, and hopefully to appreciate better
                                                             The author would like to acknowledge the significant
      the lessons of history. One wonders what the
                                                             contribution from Bruce Harvey and his publication
      future is for Whatipu – the present generation is
                                                             Whatipu – the Story of Whatipu and Early Huia, 2001.
      generous in its desire to preserve the past and
      the environment. New Zealanders and West

        ‘Our History’ is a booklet series produced by the Auckland Regional Council (ARC).
        It is part of a cultural heritage initiative established to provide information about
        local history and regionally significant historic resources.
        For further information:
        •   Contact the Auckland Regional Council ph: 09 366 2000
        •   Visit the Auckland Regional Council website www.arc.govt.nz

        For further reading:
        •   WHATIPU, the story of Whatipu and early Huia, B.Harvey 2001
        •   Waitäkere Ranges, Ranges of Inspiration, B. & T. Harvey (ed.) 2006
        •   The Orpheus Disaster, T. Fairburn 1987
        •   Waitäkere Kauri, J.T Diamond & B.W. Hayward 1980
        •   Wing of the Manukau, T.B. Byrne 1991

24                                                                                        www.arc.govt.nz
Whatipu Timeline
                                                 1929 the Gibbons family
                                                 ownership of Whatipu Lodge ends.
1200s Mäori
occupation of
Whatipu begins.                        1926  road access to
                                       Whatipu is created and        1929-32 the Douglas family
                                       launch services are           manages Whatipu Lodge.
                                       reduced to weekly.

                                                                     1932 the Farley family take over
                                                                     Whatipu Lodge for the next fifteen
                                   1921 timber milling ends and      years. The tennis court is built.
                                   Liebergreen Cottage is created
                                   from two mill workers huts.

                                   1906 timber milling resumes       1950 Paratütai Wharf is
                                                                     demolished. Phil Sharp takes over
Mid 1400s the Tainui canoe         and ‘Whatipu Lodge’ is created.
                                                                     Whatipu Lodge and a telephone
arrives and the Ngäoho
                                                                     line is completed to Whatipu.
people settle in the area.

                                   1886  the first phase
                                   of timber milling ends.

                                                                     1971   the AHB Whatipu Endowment
                                                                     land is now managed by the ARA.
Mid 1600s Te Kawerau               1870    the Gibbons Homestead
ä Maki settle in the area.         is built by Nicholas Gibbons.

                                   1868   the Gibbons family         1984 management of Whatipu
                                   commence construction             Lodge is taken up by Neil and
1700s conflict with Ngäti           of the Whatipu Sawmill.           Mary Roberts until 2000.
Whätua – Te Raupatu
Tïhore and then peace.
                                   1863  the wreck of the HMS
                                   Orpheus. The Paratütai Signal     2000-2002    conservation plans
                                   Mast is chopped down by           are completed for Whatipu Lodge
                                   Waikato Mäori.                    and the Liebergreen Cottage and
                                                                     restoration commences.

1820 visit of Rev.                                                   2001 Bruce Harvey’s history
Samuel Marsden to                                                    of Whatipu is published.
the Manukau Heads.
                                   1853  the Signal
                                   and Pilot Station
                                   established at Whatipu.
1826 The Musket Raids.                                               2002 Alison Anderson and Marnie
                                                                     Hunter take over as licencees of
                                                                     Whatipu Lodge. The Whatipu sand
1835  Te Kawerau ä Maki            1853 Crown Purchase of            accretion is declared a Scientific
return to Whatipu under the        the Hikurangi Block and           Reserve by the Crown and its
protection of the Tainui Ariki     the creation of Native            management is vested in the ARC.
Te Wherowhero.                     Reserves at Piha and
                                   Waitäkere (Te Henga).
                                                                           2002 Friends of
                                                                           Whatipu Inc. formed.

       1845 Te Kawerau ä Maki                                                                Today
       converted to Chistianity.
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